Here come the drums

First, thanks to everyone who’s written in and posted their comments regarding Canadia… The response has been a lot more positive (and flattering) than I ever expected, and I really appreciate it.

Second, I forward every e-mail and comment to the powers that be at the Ceeb, and hopefully there’ll be a CD release at some point in the near future… As for podcasting, or downloadable episodes… Who knows… I’m trying to get some sort of conversation going about that too. I encourage everyone to write the CBC and tell them how you feel, because they read everything that comes in.

Now, on to business!

Last week I managed to finish the pilot I was comissioned to write and now, I have free time.

But, since I’m basically un-employed, it means that I have to agonize about having free time.

So, I’m working on a vanity project. A story that I’ve been bouncing around for a year now… Writing bits and pieces here and there… I’m finally giving it my full attention.

But because I have no deadline, I can fully experience all the procrastination, self-hatred and dread that goes into writing.

Here’s what I did today, while trying to work on this “vanity project”. (By my definition, a vanity project is something that no one is interested in… it’s something you write for yourself, with the hope that maybe someone will want it when it’s completed.)

9am. Wake up, grab laptop, climb back into bed. Check the weather. Fall back asleep.

10am. Wake up. Pee. Check Facebook. Fall back asleep.

11am. Wake up to whining, cross-legged dog. Get up and walk dog.

12pm. Breakfast, with laptop, read news, blogs, (facebook) more Doctor Who posts (the show is very exciting right now).

12:30pm. Buckle into the office with a bottle of water. Lock the laptop into the ergonynamic thingy, plug in the keyboard, and promptly read some more on the Doctor Who forum.

1pm. Try meditating for twenty minutes – it turns into a half hour nap.

1:30pm. Open up the script in final draft, but don’t look at it. Quickly open up Facebook.

2pm. Lie down on the couch and read a few comic books.

2:30pm. Smoke (shh…)

3pm. Answer some e-mails, glance at the script.

3:05pm. Talk to Dave about how I don’t want to write this script, I hate it. It’s a stupid idea.

3:30pm. Eat some yogurt. (Vanilla)

3:45. Facebook.

4:00pm. Look over the script so far. And write a few lines…

4:45pm. Start writing this blog entry, while occasionally checking: Facebook, blogs, news, weather and Doctor Who forum.

And now it’s 5:15, and I’m hungry. Going to make a sandwich and take the dog for a run. Then I’ll probably spend the greater part of the evening writing…

Did I not mention that?

I get most of my work done at night… It’s more of the same, a lot of surfing and procrasting (I didn’t even get to my Wikipedia habit), but it’s when I get the bulk of my work done.

If I’m trying to convey anything with this post it’s this:

Watch Doctor Who tonight on CBC, it’s awesome.

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The Intelligent Audience

I watch a lot of TV. A lot. I was raised on the television. My parents parked my crib in front of the TV. It was my babysitter, my best friend, and my first true love.

I consider myself a bit of an expert/historian/geek when it comes to TV.

One thing that amazes me lately, is this general perception in Canadian Television that Canadian audiences want safe TV. And by safe, I mean Corner Gas… and yes, Little Mosque. Which although risky in premise, is actually about as safe as you can get.

I would like to point out a couple things about Canadian audiences.

I believe that the Canadian audience is as sophisticated as (if not more than) the American audience.

Shows that are hits on Cable in the States, are mainstream hits here at home. For example: The Daily Show does better per capita in Canada than it does in the US.

The Sopranos ran unedited on CTV.

In terms of Canadian programming, I would like people to remember The Newsroom. Not the version that I was on (I have to be careful here) but the show that premiered in ’96. The show that swept the Gemini’s. The show that was so popular that it prompted Vanity Fair to do profile piece on Ken Finkleman.

The first year of The Newsroom was (dare I say it) a bigger break-out hit than Corner Gas. It renewed people’s faith in Canadian television. It was bold, dark, edgy and nothing like anyone had seen before on network television… (Larry Sanders was on cable).

It’s easy to forget that first year. By the time I joined the show, the British version of The Office was winning all sorts of awards around the world… The Newsroom was no longer as fresh as it once was, after being off the air for several years… Audiences had gotten more sophisticated.

So, as the Corner Gas imitators start coming through the gates, I’d like people to remember that it is possible for a show to be “edgy” and “dark” and also be a “hit”. I fear that Canadian Television is underestimating the intelligence of the audience.

I worry that writers (always trying to second guess what the executives want) are going to be afraid of taking risks… When now is the most important time in Television history to take risks. There’s so much at stake, how can you not take a risk?

I don’t know what I’m saying here. I’m looped up on sleep drugs (which apparently aren’t helping, it’s 3am) but I know what I’m trying to say.

err.

Ok…

A good show is a good show. It shouldn’t be edgy for the sake of being edgy. It should just be good. That being said, if it’s good, AND it’s edgy, someone should take a chance on it. It shouldn’t be swept under the carpet because it’s not safe. Nor should it be “safe-a-fyied” in order to make it acceptable.

Now, if it’s safe AND it’s good (Corner Gas) than that’s great too. It’s all about the intent of the creator and his/her ability to convey that intent into a funny, solid script.

The audience is a lot more intelligent than anyone gives them credit for. They’re always a few steps ahead of the show. I consider myself an audience member fist, and a writer second.

Now, that being said…

Does anyone else find Beauty and The Geek one of the most entertaining shows in history?

I find it insanely gripping.

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John Ritter and Phil Hartman

I bought the first two seasons of Newsradio the other day, and I’ve been plowing through the episodes…

One episode featuring John Ritter started playing and I got a little choked up.

But when John Ritter walks over to Phil Hartman… There were some tears.

John Ritter and Phil Hartman in Newsradio

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Stephen Colbert + Barry Manilow = 100% Awesome

In case you missed it the other night, Stephen Colbert finally had long time rival Barry Manilow on The Colbert Report. After signing a peace treaty, bringing an end to a long and exhaustive feud, they marked the historical event… with song.

In years to come, this will be known as one of the GREATEST MOMENTS IN HISTORY.

Or, at the very least, people will remember it as being KINDA NEAT.

Link.

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